Havana Times, November 26, 2020
HAVANA TIMES – Numerous Cuban civil society organizations as well as regional and other international groups and individuals are calling for action to preserve the life of several hunger strikers of the San Isidro Movement in the Cuban capital.
The demands include the release of rapper Denis Solis from prison and an end to the flagrant human rights violations. The statement issued on Thursday morning also draws attention to the continuous repression and arbitrary movement restrictions on journalists and independent media.
Urgent Call to Preserve the Lives of the Hunger Strikers at the Headquarters of the San Isidro Movement
The undersigned – international and Cuban civil society organizations, members of Cuban independent media, activists, and Cuban citizens – condemn the harassment, police violence, human rights violations, and repressive acts perpetrated by Cuban authorities against artists, journalists, and independent civil society actors in response to peaceful demonstrations against the arrest and subsequent arbitrary conviction of the musician and member of Movimiento San Isidro (MSI), Denis Solís González.
We, therefore, urge Cuban authorities to act in accordance with their obligation to preserve the life and health, and safety of the 14 activists at the MSI headquarters since November 16, demanding the release of the musician Denis Solis González.
On November 9, 2020, Denis Solís González was brutally detained by agents of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) in the Habana Vieja municipality, a few blocks from his home. Since then, there has been no communication with the musician, and attempts to gather information on his whereabouts through official channels were unsuccessful. According to international standards, Solís González has been forcibly disappeared.
Upon arrest, the acting agents failed to present a valid arrest warrant, inform Solis Gonzalez of his charges and instruct him on his rights as a defendant.
As detailed in the judicial order in response to the Habeas Corpus filed on November 10, he was sentenced in under 72 hours to eight months of deprivation of liberty for the crime of “contempt” without receiving the most basic guarantees of due process. Additionally, on November 11, he was transferred to the maximum-security prison in Valle Grande.
Between November 10 and 18, there have been 34 arbitrary arrests of 20 individuals documented, alongside surveillance operations intended to prevent free movement and internet service blocks for artists, activists and journalists peacefully demonstrating for the release of Denis Solís. The various peaceful protests demanding the release of the musician have resulted in an escalation of violence.
Since November 16, approximately 14 activists, artists and journalists have congregated at the MSI headquarters, under siege from state security forces. At first, MSI was barred access. In response, they organized a poetic reading at the headquarters. Later, following the theft of their food, a few activists began a hunger strike. Finally, a substance that they suspect is hydrochloric acid, was thrown onto the door and roof of the headquarters, damaging their water supply.
It is important to highlight the information lockdown that has been implemented. Journalists and activists in solidarity with MSI have been prevented from leaving their homes for at least nine days. There have also been attacks on foreign press and arrests of independent journalists, who on November 22, sought to cover the demonstrations and/or meetings organized throughout the central parks of Havana.
Given the facts presented, the undersigned organizations urgently call upon the Cuban government to allow the International Red Cross entry so they can respond to the request for assistance MSI has issued over the past two days.
We also demand that the Cuban government declare the criminal proceedings against Denis Solis González void and proceed with his immediate release. We hope they respond to the call for dialogue from members of Movimiento San Isidro in order to protect the lives of the activists.
We also demand that the government allow citizens to exercise their right to peacefully protest and that the harassment and digital interference against those who participate in or carry out journalistic coverage of these events cease. It is indefensible, that the Cuban State, recently elected to occupy a place on the United Nations Human Rights Council, should engage in this type of systematic infraction of human rights in flagrant violation of all relevant international agreements and standards.
We also demand that the High Commissioner of the United Nations, Michelle Bachelet, condemn the multiple human rights violations perpetrated by agents of the Cuban State against the people engaging in legitimate protest at the Movimiento San Isidro headquarters.
We call on embassies, the European Union, and the special procedures of the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, to firmly communicate to the Cuban State their condemnation and concern regarding these events, and urge it to assume its obligations to guarantee and protect human rights, especially as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información
Red Latinoamericana y del Caribe para la Democracia (REDLAD)
Red Latinoamericana de Jóvenes por la Democracia (JuventudLAC)
Voces del Sus
Cuban Civil Society Organizations
Alianza Cubana por la Inclusión
Alianza Democrática Pinareña Vueltabajo por Cuba.
Asociación Civil Crecer en Libertad
Asociación Jurídica Cubana
Asociación Cubana para la Divulgación del Islam
Asociación Sindical Independiente de Cuba
Asociación Pro Libertad de Prensa
Center for a Free Cuba
Centro de Estudios Convivencia
Centro PEN de Escritores Cubanos en el Exilio
Club de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba
Comité de Ciudadanos por la Integración Racial (CIR)
Colegio de Pedagogos Independientes de Cuba (CPIC)
Centro Estudios Liderazgo y Desarrollo
Comunidad Judía Bnei Anusim de Cuba
Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC)
Cuba Independiente y Democrática (CID)
Damas de Blanco
Directorio Democrático Cubano
Monitor Legislativo Cubano
Libertad Cuba Lab
Fundación para la Democracia Panamericana
Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana
Libertad Cuba Lab
Instituto de Activismo Hannah Arendt
Instituto Cubano por la Libertad de Expresión y Prensa – ICLEP
Instituto La Rosa Blanca
Iglesia Misionera en Cuba
Movimiento Apostólico“Viento Recio”
Movimiento Ciudadano Reflexión y Reconciliación (MCRR)
Movimiento Opositores por una Nueva República
Mesa de Diálogo de la Juventud Cubana
Mujeres Democristianas de Cuba
Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos
Proyecto Demócrata Cubano (PRODECU)
Partido Arco Progresista
Partido Autónomo Pinero
Partido Pedro Luis Boitel
Partido Demócrata Cristiano de Cuba
Plataforma Independiente para el Desarrollo Universitario
Puente a la Vista
Red Femenina de Cuba
Red de Líderes y Lideresas Comunitarios (RELLIC)
Solidaridad Trabajadores de Cuba
Unión Patriótica de Cuba (UNPACU)
Mujer a Mujer
37 International Civil Society Organizations including PEN Internacional;
21 Independent Media
42 Cuban Activists and Citizens